Though it’s been in the works for years and years, it seems that plans for a new movie based on the old He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animated series is still alive. This isn’t really a big surprise since the characters have already returned several times over the years.
The original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe debuted in 1983 in first-run syndication. While many animated characters have been made into action figures, these characters were developed as toys first and the series followed. The series ran for two seasons and 130 episodes.
As interest in the Mattel toys began to wane in the late 1980s, the live-action Masters of the Universe movie was released. Starring Dolf Lundgren and Frank Langella, the film didn’t ultimately help toy sales and the movie flopped at the box office. A sequel was planned but Cannon Films couldn’t afford to pay Mattel the license fees.
Another animated series, The New Adventures of He-Man, was produced in 1989. This show redesigned the characters, wasn’t nearly as popular, and just lasted one season.
In 2002, Mattel wanted to relaunch the toy line and released toys that closely resembled the original characters. A second He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series was produced and lasted for 39 episodes and two seasons on Cartoon Network.
Another live-action feature film was first announced a few years ago. It was initially going to be produced by Joel Silver at Warner Bros., written by Justin Marks, and directed by John Stevenson. The plan was to utilize special effects along the lines of what was used in the 300 feature film. In May 2009, Evan Daugherty reportedly took over the scripting duties. In September of that year, Sony took over the rights for the picture because Mattel and Silver disagreed about the creative direction for the movie.
It was later reported that Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch were developing the Grayskull project for Columbia Pictures (a subsidiary of Sony Picture Entertainment). In April 2010, Sony hired screenwriters Mike Finch and Alex Litvak to draft a new script.
There hasn’t been news since then so many have assumed that the project was dead. Not so, says DeVon Franklin, Vice President of Production for Columbia Pictures.
In a recent interview with crosswalk (link via MovieWeb), Franklin noted, “One of other things I’m really excited about is we’re doing a reboot of the 1980s franchise Masters of the Universe. The He-Man franchise. Very excited about that. Should have that script very soon. I’m praying that we can start figuring out how we’re going to make it.”
What do you think? Are you interested in a new He-Man live-action movie? Who should star in it?